Carthage father draws prison term for breaking daughter's leg

Lance Breeding

A judge sentenced a Carthage father to seven years in prison Monday for breaking his 5-year-old daughter's leg and leaving her covered in bruises during a fit of rage over her failure to clean her room.

Lance C. Breeding, 27, pleaded guilty to a Class D felony count of child abuse at a hearing in Jasper County Circuit Court. He had been facing a Class B felony count of child abuse that carries from five to 15 years in prison. Circuit Judge Gayle Crane accepted the plea deal and assessed Breeding the maximum length of sentence for a Class D felony offense.

Breeding got upset with his daughter Jan. 11 and pushed or threw her into a dresser in her bedroom. The girl's mother, Mystic Foresee, told police that Breeding told her that he grabbed the girl by the arm and threw her into the dresser. He explained to police that it had been less violent than that and more like a push.

The girl was brought to the emergency room of Mercy Hospital Carthage by her parents on the day in question and diagnosed with a broken femur. She was transferred to Mercy Hospital Springfield for surgery. Hospital staff there observed extensive bruising of the girl's lower back, buttocks and upper legs and reported the matter as suspected child abuse.

The mother told investigators that she was in the living room when she heard a thud in her daughter's bedroom followed by her daughter's scream. She ran to the bedroom and saw the girl lying on the floor in front of her dresser with one leg held up in the air in a bent manner because she could not straighten it.

Breeding told investigators that when he came home from work, he learned from Foresee that their daughter had been misbehaving and would not clean her room. He told investigators that he spanked her with an open hand "harder than he should have" and sent her to her room to do the cleaning she had refused to do.

When he later learned that she still had not done any of the cleaning, he shoved her into the dresser, causing her to start crying and complaining that her leg hurt, her father told investigators. He reported that he picked her up and sat her on the top of the dresser to check the leg but could not see anything wrong with it. He then lifted her off the dresser and dropped her to the floor, expecting her to land on her feet, but she instead crumpled to the floor and would not stand up.

Breeding admitted that this further enraged him and he kicked her leg while ordering her to get up. She screamed in response, drawing the attention of her mother.

This story has been updated to remove the name of the 5-year-old girl.

Jeff Lehr is a reporter for The Joplin Globe.